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The Leave It Command: Teaching Your Dog Impulse Control

The Leave It Command: Teaching Your Dog Impulse Control

The “Leave It” command is a great way to teach your pup impulse control and obedience. With some patience and persistence, you can train them to understand and obey it in different scenarios.

Follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet, distraction-free spot with your pup on a short leash.
  2. Place a treat on the floor in front of them.
  3. As they go for the treat, firmly say “Leave It” and pull them away with the leash.
  4. When they listen and look away, give them another treat or praise them.
  5. Do this several times a day until they understand it and obey it reliably.

The “Leave It” command is great for situations where safety or good behavior is at stake, like when encountering dangerous objects or other dogs. Be patient and consistent, rewarding good behavior to motivate them to obey the command.

Understanding the Leave It Command

“Leave It!” is a must-have command for teaching your pup impulse control. It keeps them away from food on the ground, unusual items, and hazardous scenarios. Knowing when to use the Leave It command is essential. Let’s learn more about it!

What is the Leave It command

The “Leave It” command is essential for teaching dogs impulse control. This command helps them to not eat unwanted or harmful objects. To teach the command, do this:

  1. Hold a treat in a closed hand and show it to your pup.
  2. Say “Leave It” firmly.
  3. Wait for the dog to stop trying to get the treat.
  4. Reward them with a different treat when they stop.
  5. Repeat, gradually making the time longer that they have to leave the treat.
  6. Practice with different objects and settings to make sure the command is understood in many scenarios.

Why it’s important to teach impulse control

Impulse control is key for teaching your pup before bad behaviours arise. This can help them focus, listen to you better and make smarter decisions.

To teach your pup impulse control, use the “Leave It” command. Here’s how:

  1. Have a treat in your hand, close it in a fist.
  2. Let your dog sniff or paw at your hand.
  3. Speak “leave it” in a firm yet gentle voice.
  4. Wait for your pup to turn away from your fist.
  5. Open your hand and give them a treat from the other hand.
  6. Keep repeating this a few times until they respond quickly to the “leave it” command. Make sure you keep the training brief and use positive reinforcement to reward them for good behaviour.

Pro tip: Teaching impulse control takes time, be consistent and patient! All that effort will result in a loyal, obedient and well-mannered pup!

Steps to Teach the Leave It command

Teach your pup the ‘Leave It’ command! It’s a vital part of their training. In simple terms, it means to ignore something and not take it. This command can be useful when your dog has a chance to eat something from the trash, a dangerous object, or a toy from another pup.

Here’s how to do it:

Start with a basic command

The “Leave It” command is great for teaching dogs impulse control and safety. Here’s how to teach it:

  1. Hold a treat in your closed fist, in front of the pup.
  2. Say “Leave It” and wait for them to stop sniffing or pawing your hand.
  3. When they do, reward them with another treat and verbal praise.
  4. Repeat this exercise multiple times, so your pup learns the command and its reward.
  5. Practice with objects: Put a toy or treat in front of the dog, and say “Leave It“.
  6. Reward them when they don’t try and grab the object.
  7. Gradually make it harder by placing more enticing objects in front of them until they respond consistently.
  8. Practice in different places and with different objects for best results.

Introduce the Leave It command

Teaching your pup the “Leave It” command is key for keeping them from snatching things that could be dangerous. Here’s how to do it correctly:

  1. Clench a treat in your hand, and hold it up to your dog.
  2. Say “Leave It“.
  3. Wait ’til your pup stops trying to get the treat with their nose, paws, or tongue.
  4. Give them another treat from your other hand, and give them praise.
  5. Keep practicing, making it harder by putting the treat on the floor or using distractions.
  6. Once they understand, use it when they see something they shouldn’t touch, eat, or take.

Remember to reward and praise them each time they obey.

Build up distractions

Teaching the “Leave It” command to your pooch? Crucial step: build up distractions. Here’s how:

  1. Start in a calm, distraction-free place. Show your pup a treat in one hand. Cover it with the other and say “Leave It” sternly.
  2. Wait for them to stop trying to get the treat. Then reward with a different treat from your other hand.
  3. Repeat until your pup responds to the command in a quiet environment.
  4. Gradually add more distractions (toys, people, food on the ground) while still using the same command and reward system.
  5. Practice in various locations and scenarios, so your pup listens to the command in any situation.

Progress to real-life scenarios

Teach your pup impulse control with the “Leave It” command. Here’s how:

  1. Show your pup a treat in one hand.
  2. Close your hand and say “Leave It.” Wait for them to stop sniffing and licking.
  3. Once they do, praise and give a different treat from the other hand.
  4. Practice in different places and with different things until they reliably respond.
  5. Increase difficulty by using higher-value items.
  6. Use the command in real-life scenarios like when they try to pick up food on walks.

Pro tip: Consistency is key. Practice regularly in different scenarios to reinforce the behavior.

Common Training Challenges

Training your pup to obey the Leave It command is a must. It can help put an end to undesired behaviors. This can be tough, especially if your pup is quick to get distracted. But with the right training methods, it can be done!

Let’s explore some of the common issues when teaching a dog to obey the Leave It command.

Your dog ignores the command

It’s key to teach your pup impulse control for the “leave it” command. But, there might be troubles with training your dog to stick to this command. Here’s why your dog could be ignoring it, and what to do:

  1. No impulse control? If your dog has difficulty controlling their impulses, they won’t obey the command. Do other impulse control exercises first.
  2. No motivation? If they don’t see a benefit, they may ignore it. Make training fun and rewarding.
  3. Wrong usage? If you use the command too much, they won’t understand when to obey. Be clear and specific.

With patience, training, and consistency, your pup will get the “leave it” command and develop better impulse control. Pro Tip: Start training with treats. Practice in different places. Be persistent.

Your dog may become aggressive

Train your pup in impulse control with the “leave it” command. Dogs can get aggressive for a few reasons, like fear, anxiety, territory, and lack of socialization.
Using this command can help prevent aggression. Here’s how:

  1. Put a treat in front of your pet and say “leave it”.
  2. Cover the treat with your hand and repeat.
  3. When your dog stops trying to get the treat, give them a different one as a reward.
  4. Try this in different places with distractions.
  5. Gradually increase the time your dog listens before rewarding.

Work this into your pup’s daily routine. It can help them avoid dangerous situations.

Your dog may become frustrated or stressed

Teaching your pup impulse control and the “Leave It” command is must-do for keeping them away from dangerous things. But it can be tricky! Your pup could not listen, get more interested in the item, or act anxious or aggressive.

Take small steps and reward with treats or compliments when they do well. Start with something not-so-valuable and increase the value gradually. Be patient and consistent with your training. Don’t force them to interact with the thing. Eventually, they will learn to control themselves and obey your command.

Pro tip: If your pup is getting stressed, take a break and resume training when they are calmer.

Alternatives to Leave It Command

Teach your pup the Leave It command. That’s a great way to help them with impulse control. But, if that doesn’t work, there are alternate options. Here are some tips! Alternatives to the Leave It command can lead to the same result. Use them to help your dog gain better impulse control.

Drop it

“Drop it” is a great command to teach your dog. It helps them not eat bad things or take things that aren’t theirs. But, there are other alternatives!

  1. “Give” command: Teach them to drop the item and give it to you.
  2. “Trade” command: Teach them to give up what they have for something better.
  3. “Find It” game: Get their attention with a toy or treat you’ve hidden.

All of these can be useful in different situations. Practice with your pup regularly and use positive reinforcement to help them learn.

Settle down

The “settle down” command is a great technique to help teach your pup impulse control and replacing the traditional “leave it” command. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Find a quiet place with few distractions.
  2. Show your pup to relax and settle in one spot. Use verbal cues, treats, and praise.
  3. When your pup has learnt to settle, introduce something tempting like food or a toy.
  4. Utilize the “settle down” command to redirect your pup’s concentration away from the item and back to settling.
  5. Reward your pup with a treat and praise.

Doing this regularly will help solidify the “settle down” command in your pup’s mind. This will be useful when trying to divert their attention away from something they shouldn’t be interested in.

Teaching impulse control without commands

Teaching your pup self-control without commands can be tricky. Yet, it’s doable with other methods that emphasize positive reinforcement and communication.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Games that help focus – Stimulate your pup to stay with you when you’re playing hide-and-seek or fetch. Reward them with treats and love.
  2. Positive reinforcement – When they do something you like, give them treats, compliments, and affection. Don’t pay attention to bad behavior.
  3. Obedience training – Teach your pup sit, stay, and come. This will help them manage their impulses and act responsibly.

These techniques can help build a solid bond with your dog and make learning a happy experience.


Teaching your pup the “leave it” command can be tricky. Patience and consistency are key to success. But what if you’re stuck? Don’t worry! Here’re some of the common issues and how to fix them. Let’s get started on training!

Addressing slow learning

“Leave It” is an important command for teaching your pup impulse control. It can help improve slow learning and other behavior issues.

To get started:

  1. Put an object on the ground and say “Leave it”.
  2. When they look away, give a treat from your hand.
  3. Up the difficulty by placing an object in their view and saying “Leave it”.
  4. Make it more difficult by using different objects and scenarios.
  5. For example, someone walking by with a toy or treat while your pup is on a leash.

This command can help your pooch gain impulse control and improve their ability to learn new behaviors.

Addressing regression in training

When training your pup, you may find they forget commands like ‘leave it.’ This is a key part of their training and helps them with impulse control. To help troubleshoot regressions in training, here are some tips:

  1. Reinforce the command. Begin with easy-to-ignore items and gradually increase the difficulty level.
  2. Be consistent. Use the same command word and tone each time.
  3. Avoid reinforcing bad behaviour. Don’t reward negative actions.
  4. Train longer. If your dog is not responding, increase the length of your training sessions and focus on impulse control.

Remember: Consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Patience and persistence are vital for your pooch to have a well-rounded, disciplined approach to behaviour.

Understanding when to seek professional help.

Learning your pup the “leave it” command is must-have to keep control and stop unwanted actions. But, there are times when you will need to ask professional help to resolve certain matters properly.

Here are some signs that point to needing professional help to teach your pup impulse control:

  • If your pup is aggressive when teaching “leave it”. A pro trainer can show you how to manage your pup’s aggression.
  • If your pup guards resources, like growling or snapping when you try to take away toys or food. A pro trainer can give ways to handle resource guarding.
  • If your pup has extreme fear or anxiety. A pro trainer can show you methods and techniques to help your pup manage their fear and anxiety.

Overall, if your pup’s behavior is beyond your comfort level or management, it is always best to get professional help from an authorized dog trainer or behaviorist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Leave It command?

A: The Leave It command is a training technique that teaches your dog to leave something alone upon command.

Q: Why is it important to teach the Leave It command?

A: Teaching the Leave It command is important because it helps your dog develop impulse control, which can prevent them from eating something dangerous or engaging in unwanted behavior.

Q: How do I teach my dog the Leave It command?

A: Start by showing your dog a treat in your closed fist. When your dog sniffs or paws at your fist, say “Leave It” and wait until they stop trying to get the treat. Then reward them with a different treat from your other hand. With practice, you can increase the difficulty by using more tempting objects.

Q: What should I do if my dog doesn’t listen to the Leave It command?

A: If your dog doesn’t listen to the Leave It command, it’s important to stay patient and consistent with your training. Try using a more tempting object or moving to a less distracting environment to practice.

Q: Can the Leave It command be used for other situations besides food or objects?

A: Yes, the Leave It command can be used in various situations such as preventing your dog from jumping on guests, chasing after animals, or digging in the yard.

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